FIVETHIRTYEIGHT GIVES DONNELLY 70.1% CHANCE: FiveThirtyEight gives U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly a 70.1% chance of winning this morning (Howey Politics Indiana). It says that Donnelly will poll 50.4% of the vote, compared to 47.1% for Mike Braun and 2.5% for Libertarian Lucy Brenton. The FiveThirtyEight model expects 2,221,000 out of an estimated 4,921,000 eligible voters to cast a ballot — that's 45.1%. Indiana is 17.9 points more Republican than the nation. It gives Democrats a 85.8% chance of winning the U.S. House. Republicans have an 85.2% chance of carrying the Senate. Donnelly has raised $16.1 million to Braun’s $17 million; the two are basically tied in the polls (Washington Post).

FINAL TRACKING POLLS GIVE DONNELLY NARROW LEAD: Harris Interactive’s tracking polls give Sen. Joe Donnelly narrow leads (Howey Politics Indiana).  A Nov. 1-3 survey of 600 likely voters gave Donnelly a 43-42% lead. Its Oct. 31-Nov. 2 survey had Donnelly up 44-42%. Its Oct. 29-31 survey had Braun leading 43-40%.

TRUMP IN FORT WAYNE TONIGHT: President Trump will leave the White House at 12:40 p.m. (Howey Politics Indiana). He is headed to Cleveland, where Trump will hold a political rally at the I-X Center at 2:45 p.m. He will depart at 4:15 p.m. for Fort Wayne, Ind. Trump will hold a political rally at 6:05 p.m. at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. It will be the president’s second visit to Indiana on behalf of Braun since Friday, and the fourth of this campaign cycle. Trump will then fly to Cape Girardeau, Mo., at 7:55 p.m. He will headline a political rally at 9 p.m. C.T. at the Show Me Center before returning to Washington.

POLITICO POLL GIVES DEMS 3% GENERIC LEAD: The final POLITICO/Morning Consult poll prior to the midterm elections shows Republicans cutting into Democrats’ lead on the generic congressional ballot (Politico). According to the poll, 43 percent of registered voters would vote for the Democratic congressional candidate in their district — only slightly more than the 40 percent who would vote for the Republican candidate. Eighteen percent of registered voters are undecided. Among those who say they are very likely to vote or have already voted, Democrats lead by 4 percentage points, 47 percent to 43 percent. In an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted Oct. 29-Nov. 1, Democrats led by 7 points among registered voters and 8 points among likely voters, down from 11 points and 13 points in October, respectively. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted Nov. 1-3, found Democrats ahead by 6 points among registered voters and 7 points among likely voters, down from 7 points and 9 points, respectively, in October.

CNN POLL GIVES DEMS 12% GENERIC LEAD: On the eve of the midterm elections, Democrats continue to hold a double-digit lead over Republicans in a generic Congressional ballot among likely voters, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS. The party's 55% to 42% advantage in the new poll mirrors their lead in early October and is about the same as the 10-point edge they held just after Labor Day. That's a slimmer edge than the party held in CNN's final poll before the 2006 midterm elections and similar to the Republicans' 10-point advantage just before the 2010 midterms. Democrats benefit from a massive gender gap that has persisted throughout the fall (women favor Democrats 62% to 35%, while men are about evenly divided, 49% back the Republican, while 48% support the Democrat in their district), a wide lead among political independents (53% for the Democrat to 39% for the Republican), and strong support from black and Latino voters (88% of black voters and 66% of Latino voters favor the Democrats).

OBAMA STUMPS FOR DONNELLY IN GARY URGING ‘HOPE OVER FEAR’: Former President Barack Obama headlined a Democratic Party GOTV rally in Gary on Sunday, urging Hoosiers to turnout for U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly who is facing an intense challenge from Republican Mike Braun, saying, “Choose hope over fear” (Curry, Howey Politics Indiana). Obama’s Gary appearance came two days after President Trump campaigned for Braun at Southport, and a day before Trump returns for an Election Eve rally at the Fort Wayne Coliseum. While several Indiana Democrats were present, the main focus fell on U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, whom Obama strongly endorsed, as the contentious Senate campaign draws to a close. Obama talked about the working relationship he had with Donnelly while he was in office. He said he knew that Donnelly wasn't always going to agree with him simply by virtue of party loyalty, but that Donnelly was "always focused on Hoosiers." He doesn't yes-man, Obama said.  Before a sold-out Genesis Convention Center, and on the 10th anniversary of his victory in the 2008 presidential election, Obama returned to old themes: the deficit and tax reforms), he made a clear contrast between the two parties. Obama assailed Republicans for using fear and deception to win the election. He and the Democrats prefer "fact-based campaigning" and "reality-based governance," Obama said. He reminded the crowd of the importance of fighting for central progressive tenets like keeping pre-existing conditions and continuing progress in LGBT rights and gender equality. He tried to show a repeated pattern of such moves from Republicans and admitted that it had worked in the past. "Don't be like Charlie Brown with the football" he joked, urging voters not to fall for such tactics in this campaign. 

DONNELLY URGES FINAL VOTER TURNOUT: Sen. Joe Donnelly spoke for a few minutes before welcoming Obama to the mic (Curry, Howey Politics Indiana). The Senator fixated on the importance of voter turnout come Tuesday. Recalling his 2012 victory, Donnelly applauded the efforts of local voters. “In Lake County alone, we won that election by over 70,000 votes,” Donnelly said. He argued the results of those margins were clear: the narrow survival of the ACA. “The people of Lake County gave me the chance to cast the vote to save healthcare for the people of the United States of America.” Donnelly also pointed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s interest in cutting spending on social security and Medicare as further proof of the stakes of the Senate race. Democratic Mayor of Gary Karen Freeman-Wilson and U.S. Reps. André Carson and Pete Visclosky also spoke briefly during the first half of the rally. Freeman-Wilson praised the congressmen for their long service to Indiana and the community and talked of the excitement of Obama’s return to Gary, before introducing Carson. The Congressman from Indianapolis told the crowd that there was the former president’s visit offered hope for Donnelly in his tight Senate race. He likened Obama to Batman, saying “We’re going to flash that change flag in the sky. We’re going to see that batmobile come out of nowhere. Our caped crusader is back in Indiana to see to it that Joe gets over the finish line.” Both Carson and Visclosky emphasized the need for Democrats to take control of the House after Tuesday, and they showed a good deal of confidence about their party’s prospects. Carson finished his remarks with an emphatic display of that confidence: “Joe is going to win, ‘Obama to save the day,’ and Democrats will win the House of Representatives.”

TRUMP CONVEYING APOCALYPTIC VISION OF AMERICA: President Trump is painting an astonishingly apocalyptic vision of America under Democratic control in the campaign’s final days, unleashing a torrent of falsehoods and portraying his political opponents as desiring crime, squalor and poverty (Rucker, Washington Post). As voters prepare to render their first verdict on his presidency in Tuesday’s midterm elections, Trump is claiming that Democrats want to erase the nation’s borders and provide sanctuary to drug dealers, human traffickers and MS-13 killers. He is warning that they would destroy the economy, obliterate Medicare and unleash a wave of violent crime that endangers families everywhere. And he is alleging that they would transform the United States into Venezuela with socialism run amok. Trump has never been hemmed in by fact, fairness or even logic. The 45th president proudly refuses to apologize and routinely violates the norms of decorum that guided his predecessors. But at one mega-rally after another in the run-up to Tuesday’s midterm elections, Trump has taken his no-boundaries political ethos to a new level — demagoguing the Democrats in a whirl of distortion and using the power of the federal government to amplify his fantastical arguments.

JUST 51% OF AMERICANS HAVE FAITH IN DEMOCRACY: Just 51% of Americans said they have faith in democracy, and 37% say they have lost faith in democracy, according to a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll. Why it matters, from Axios managing editor Kim Hart: It's worrisome how many people doubt the very foundation of American society.

THE LEGACY GENERAL ASSEMBLY ELECTION: While we’ve concentrated on 10 Indiana Senate races and 20 House races, the 2018 mid-term elections will also be known as the legacy election (Howey Politics Indiana). There will be five familiar political names joining the General Assembly on Nov. 6. Gary Councilwoman Ragen Hatcher will be elected in HD3. She’s unopposed and is the daughter of legendary Gary Mayor Richard G. Hatcher. About 80 miles east, Christy Stutzman will win HD49. She, too, is unopposed and is the wife of former congressman Marlin Stutzman. The son of State Rep. Jim Baird, the 4th CD Republican nominee expected to win is Beau Baird, who is facing Democrat Kimberly Fidler in HD 44. In HD43, Tonya Pfaff is expected to win, facing Republican Darrell Felling. She’s the daughter of Fred Nation, the former press secretary of Gov. Evan Bayh. In HD64, the son of former congressman John Hostettler, Matt, is running unopposed as a Republican.

AXIOS PRESSES TRUMP ON PRE-EXISTING CONDITION COVERAGE: Axios pressed Trump during our interview to square one of the biggest contradictions of the midterms: His insistence that Republicans will protect people with pre-existing conditions while his Justice Department argues in court that those protections should be thrown out. The intrigue: As I tried to hand Trump a copy of DOJ’s legal brief, he told me Attorney General Jeff Sessions hadn’t given him a heads-up before adopting this politically explosive position. But that contradicts Sessions’ explanation. The big picture: The Justice Department is arguing that the courts should strike down the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and toss out its protections for people with pre-existing conditions in the process. If that position ultimately prevails, millions of people could lose their coverage or see their costs skyrocket. “It wouldn’t matter” if the ACA’s protections are struck down, Trump said, “because pre-existing conditions, on anything we do, will be put into it.” “I support terminating Obamacare, but if we terminate it, we will reinstitute pre-existing conditions in whatever we do,” he said.

WEST MS SHOOTER IN COURT TODAY: The 13-year-old accused in a shooting at Noblesville West Middle School is due back in juvenile court Monday (WTHR-TV). His lawyer, Chris Eskew, told Eyewitness News he plans to make an admission. That is different from a guilty plea commonly heard in adult court. Eskew said his client's admission is not part of an agreement with the prosecutor's office. He plans to admit to all 11 accusations against him, including two charges of attempted murder. The judge could also decide the disposition, which is juvenile court's version of sentencing.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: In our 24 years of publishing, we’ve never seen such disparity in polling. CNN gives Democrats a 12% congressional generic lead. Politico puts it at 3%. It’s utterly cliche, but the only poll that matters comes with the voters on Tuesday. We’ll be making our final forecasts in today’s Atomic! around noon. - Brian A. Howey


THOUSANDS VOTE IN INDY ON SUNDAY: Thousands of people are hitting the polls around Marion County on Sunday to vote early for Tuesday's midterm election (WTHR-TV). "It's kind of the most important election I think I've been involved with," said Joe Viglietta, who was voting early for the first time. "I'm 46 years old and it's a big one." People were lined up outside the City-County Building an hour before the polls opened to cast a ballot. Within the first hour, 1,000 people had already voted.

MASSIVE VOTER TURNOUT IN ALLEN COUNTY: Election Day on Tuesday will tell whether Allen County is seeing much greater voter turnout in this year's presidential midterm election or if many more people simply were taking advantage of wider access to early voting opportunities – or both (Kelly, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Beth Dlug, county elections director, said that as of mid-afternoon Friday, 21,250 residents had voted early in person and 9,000 absentee ballots had been mailed. In 2014, the last midterm election, 5,500 people voted early in person and 5,000 did so by mail. Dlug pointed out that Allen County offered satellite voting sites this year that were not available in 2014. Regardless, early voting this year is “very, very big,” she said. “I think there's a lot of get-out-the-vote efforts now, too,” Dlug said. Political organizations and advocacy groups “are getting their people to the polls. They want those votes in.”

CNN PUTS TRUMP APPROVAL AT 39%: Trump's approval rating in the poll stands at 39% overall, with 55% disapproving, slightly worse than in early October, when 41% approved of his performance and 52% disapproved (CNN). That is the worst pre-election approval rating for any president approaching their first midterm election in polling dating back to Eisenhower. Among likely voters, a majority, 52% say they strongly disapprove of the way the president is handling his job, 35% say they strongly approve of his work as President, and just 11% of those likely to vote on Tuesday say they don't have strong views on Trump.

McCASKILL UP 50-48%: Nearing the finish line of the 2018 election cycle, Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Josh Hawley are locked in a margin-of-error contest in Missouri’s important Senate race, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll of the state (NBC News). McCaskill, the state’s incumbent senator, gets support from 50 percent of likely voters in a head-to-head matchup, while Hawley, the state’s attorney general, gets 47 percent. Just 3 percent of likely voters say they’re undecided.

DEAD HEAT IN TENNESSEE SENATE RACE: Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is tied with former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) in a new poll of the closely-watched Tennessee Senate race (The Hill). The survey conducted by East Tennessee State University on Friday shows that both Bredesen and Blackburn have the support of 44 percent of likely voters polled, according to The Tennessean. The newspaper notes that the poll did not include information on the percentage of likely voters that remain undecided. The ETSU survey shows Bredesen with a substantial lead over Blackburn among independent voters. Forty-six percent of independents polled said they preferred Bredesen, while 35 percent favored Blackburn.


DONNELLY DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM FAR LEFT: He has campaigned on his support for a border wall, railed against the “radical left,” and quoted both Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan in his campaign ads (Washington Post). Joe Donnelly, trying to keep his Senate seat here in Indiana, may be a Democrat — but that’s not a word that comes up a lot as he campaigns. “You have to run on a party, because you have to be on the ballot, in effect. But the night the election’s over, that’s over,” he said in an interview outside an early voting center last week, before deploying a line he likes to repeat. “I don’t serve as a Democrat senator or a Republican senator. I serve everybody in our state.” Language like this has become a defining trait of Donnelly’s in this reelection campaign as he runs against Mike Braun, a businessman who has aligned himself with the president. Donnelly is one of five Senate Democrats running in a state that Trump won by double digits in 2016 — a 19-point victory here. Donnelly is trying to re-create the coalition of blue-collar workers and moderate Republicans in the “doughnut” counties surrounding Indianapolis that fueled his victory in 2012 and Trump’s four years later. Donnelly — like Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri, who tried to separate herself from parts of her party by saying she’s not one of those “crazy Democrats” — has worked to distance himself from the far left of his party and embraced some of Trump’s policies.

TRUMP NOT LIKELY TO MOVE THE NEEDLE WITH LATE BLITZ: President Trump will end his pre-midterm blitz of 11 rallies across eight states in six days. Top elections analysts say they doubt they'll move the needle for Republicans (Swan, Axios). What they're saying: Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman pointed to Pennsylvania's 18th district, which Trump won by 20 points in 2016. Even though Trump visited the district twice before the special election earlier this year, Democrat Conor Lamb still flipped it. "I'm not convinced their [Trump and VP Mike Pence] visits make much of a difference," Wasserman told Alexi McCammond. Kyle Kondik of Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia shared that skepticism. "I'm not sure what happens in the final days of the campaign should cause someone to dramatically change their previous thinking too much," he said. "It’s kind of the silly season in politics." By the numbers: Last-minute midterms forecasts unanimously predict Democrats winning the House and Republicans keeping the Senate. Strategists from both parties have predicted Dems will win around 35 House seats (they need 23 to take control of the House.) That'd be better for Trump than the 37 seats lost on average for a president with an approval below 50% during his first midterm election.

TRUMP CLAIMS AFRICAN-AMERICAN SUPPORT: President Donald Trump on Sunday boasted of his support among African-Americans by citing questionable polling data, two days before voters cast their ballots in a midterm election with historic implications for black candidates (Politico). “New Fox Poll shows a ‘40% Approval Rating by African Americans for President Trump, a record for Republicans.’ Thank you, a great honor!” the president wrote on Twitter. Trump’s post is an apparent reference not to a survey by Fox News, but instead to a recent poll by Rasmussen Reports featured in a Fox News segment on Sunday morning. That Rasmussen survey, a daily tracking poll from Oct. 29, showed that 40 percent of black respondents approved of the president’s performance. A Fox News poll from Oct. 17 found that 29 percent of all nonwhite registered voters approve of Trump’s job performance.

SEC. PERDUE CITES ‘COTTON-PICKIN’S FLA GOV RACE: During a Saturday rally for Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, President Donald Trump’s top agriculture official used the term “cotton-pickin'” to describe the importance of Florida’s gubernatorial race, which also features Democrat Andrew Gillum, who is running to be Florida's first black governor (Politico). “Public policy matters. Leadership matters,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said at a Lakeland rally, according to audio provided by American Bridge. “And that is why this election is so cotton-pickin' important to the state of Florida. I hope you all don’t mess it up.”


LEADERSHIP BATTLES BEGIN WEDNESDAY: House Democrats and Republicans will begin launching leadership races on Wednesday (Politico Playbook). Speed is important in these races, and the smart candidates will have already locked down a chunk of support. By the end of the week, it should become clear who has momentum.

House Republicans will have their leadership elections next Thursday, Nov. 15. If Dems take back the House, NANCY PELOSI will begin wrangling the 218 votes she'll need to become speaker -- and those under her will begin working to secure half of the House Democratic Caucus.

General Assembly

PUSH FOR CAMERAS ON SCHOOL BUSES: Indiana legislators are pushing to add cameras on the outside of school buses after police say a driver ignored a stop arm and crashed into children crossing a road, killing three and critically injuring another (Associated Press). Republican Rep. Jim Pressel said he was already working on such legislation before the accident Tuesday morning in Fulton County. Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum said the pickup's driver, Alyssa Shepherd, 24, of Rochester, was arrested and charged with three counts of reckless homicide and one misdemeanor count of passing a school bus when an arm signal device is extended, causing bodily injury. Pressel said bus drivers have told him vehicles frequently illegally pass school buses that have their stop arms deployed. "It's a huge problem," he said. "The concern expressed at the time was about privacy," said Democratic Rep. Ed Delaney, who co-sponsored stop-arm camera legislation several years ago. "I just don't share that."

WESCO FAMILY RETURNS FROM CAMEROON: Stephanie Wesco and her eight children are returning to Michiana after their husband and father, Charles Wesco, died Tuesday in Cameroon. Officials there believe he’d caught a stray bullet from political conflicts, just two weeks after the Wescos had moved there permanently to begin missionary work (Dits, South Bend Tribune). They could arrive here this weekend “God willing,” said Charles’ brother, Indiana state Rep. Timothy Wesco of Osceola. By Thursday, the family had made it more than 100 miles, often on dirt roads, to Cameroon’s capital city where they waited for flight arrangements. It follows a multi-year journey of heart and soul that led the couple to sell their Mishawaka home and commit to Africa.


GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB RENEWS CALL FOR HATE CRIME LAW - Gov. Eric Holcomb renewed calls for a statewide hate crime bill Thursday, urging lawmakers to pass the legislation in the upcoming session (Crawfordsville Journal Review). Indiana is one of five states without a hate crime law, which would stiffen penalties for crimes motivated by the victim’s race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or other factors. “I think I’ve been crystal clear that it’s overdue and I thought we had a good chance of passing it prior,” Holcomb said during a stop at Wabash College, adding the bill had not been on his legislative agenda. “But since we didn’t get it done, I want to make sure I don’t just add my voice, but that I’m part of making sure it happens, and so I’m there to make sure that we get across the line this time,” he said.

DNR: 17 PARKS TO CLOSE FOR DEER HUNTS - Seventeen Indiana state parks will temporarily close their gates to visitors this month for hunts targeting deer that threaten native plants (WRTV). The parks will close to visitors on Nov. 12 and 13, and Nov. 26 and 27 during the two-day hunts. State wildlife biologists evaluate which parks need a deer reduction based on each park's habitat and previous deer-kill rates. Reducing the parks' deer populations helps maintain habitat for other animals and state-endangered plants. This year's chosen parks are: Brown County, Chain O'Lakes, Clifty Falls, Fort Harrison, Harmonie, Indiana Dunes, Lincoln, Ouabache, Potato Creek, Prophetstown, Shades, Shakamak, Summit Lake, Tippecanoe River, Turkey Run, Versailles and Whitewater Memorial. A hunt is also set for Spring Mill State Park's Cave River Valley Natural Area and the Trine State Recreation Area.


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP BRACES FOR MASSIVE STAFF SHAKEUP - The Trump administration is bracing for a massive staff shake-up in the weeks following the midterm elections, as the fates of a number of Cabinet secretaries and top White House aides are increasingly uncertain heading into a potentially perilous time for President Trump (Washington Post). Some embattled officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, are expected to be fired or actively pushed out by Trump after months of bitter recriminations. Others, like Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, may leave amid a mutual recognition that their relationship with the president has become too strained. And more still plan to take top roles on Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign or seek lucrative jobs in the private sector after nearly two years in government.

PENTAGON: UTAH MAYOR KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN - Brent R. Taylor, the mayor of North Ogden, Utah, and a father of seven, was killed in action Saturday while serving in Afghanistan as a member of the Army National Guard, officials confirmed (Washington Post). Taylor, 39, was killed in an apparent insider attack after a member of the Afghan security forces opened fire at a base in Kabul where foreign troops provide training to Afghan forces. The attack wounded another U.S. service member. Maj. Gen. Jefferson S. Burton, adjutant general of the Utah National Guard, confirmed that the person who opened fire on Taylor was killed immediately. News of Taylor’s death brought shock and grief to a Utah community in which he had served as mayor since 2013 and, before that, as a City Council member.

BUSINESS: AMAZON IN TALKS WITH HANDFUL OF CITIES FOR HQ2 - Inc. has progressed to late-stage talks on its planned second headquarters with a small handful of communities including northern Virginia’s Crystal City, Dallas and New York City, people familiar with the matter said, as it nears a final decision that could reshape both the tech giant and the location it chooses (Wall Street Journal). The ongoing talks with some local officials come as discussions appear to have cooled in some of the other 20 cities on Amazon’s shortlist, including Denver, Toronto, Atlanta, Nashville, Tenn., and Raleigh, N.C., according to people familiar with those situations. Negotiations with the top candidates are likely in slightly different phases, according to the knowledgeable people. In Northern Virginia, Amazon is negotiating with government officials on incentives, while it’s also talking with JBG Smith Properties , a publicly traded real-estate investment trust, about the Crystal City real estate it owns, according to people familiar with the matter. Part of the negotiations involve nailing down the investment targets Amazon would have to meet to qualify for incentives, one of the people said. New York is still actively talking with Amazon, although it’s unclear how far along they are in the process.

ECONOMY: COMPANIES BLUNT IMPACTS OF TARIFFS - U.S. companies say they are blunting the effects of escalating tariffs with China through price increases or changes to their supply chains, but they warn investors that the picture could worsen next year (Wall Street Journal). Tariffs have slowed U.S. timber and grain exports, raised the cost of imported clothes hangers and heavy-equipment materials, and compressed profit margins for computer chip and tool makers, among other effects, according to an analysis of results and comments from the roughly 75% of S&P 500 companies that have reported third-quarter earnings. “The negative impact is pretty widespread across the S&P 500,” said Binky Chadha, chief U.S. equity and global strategist at Deutsche Bank. Still, he said, the overall effect so far is mostly modest. Timber giant Weyerhaeuser Co. said log exports to China fell after the country imposed retaliatory 5% tariffs on Sept. 24, despite solid construction activity there. Railroad operator Union Pacific Corp. said in October that the season’s typical grain-shipment increase hadn’t materialized, due in part to Chinese tariffs. At heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar Inc., sales haven’t suffered, and the fact it has assembly operations in both countries reduces its need for imports. Still, the company faces higher raw materials costs, though they are running toward the lower end of its earlier forecast of between $100 million and $200 million for the year’s second half, company officials said in a September projection.